Learners vs Knowers

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Right now I am reading Fred Kofman’s book “Conscious Business”.

In one of the chapters he presents an interesting hypothesis: most people can be split into two main groups – learners and knowers.

Knowers claim to know how things are, how they ought to be, and what needs to be done. They stake their self-esteem on always being right and even if they are not – convincing everybody that they are. Knowers impose their opinions on others and claim that these opinions are “the truth.” They try to eliminate all opposing views until everybody agrees with them. They believe that they see things as they are, and that whoever does not see things in the same way is wrong.

Learners are curious and humble, less certain about how to interpret what is going on and what to do about it. They are more inquisitive than directive. They tend to consider others’ perspectives instead of imposing their own. Learners stake their self-esteem on staying open—and inviting everybody to share their views. They feel at ease presenting their opinions to others as reasonable assessments and inviting others to present their different opinions. Learners believe that they see things as they appear to them, and that their view is only part of a larger picture.

As I mentioned in my earlier post about constant improvement, I fully emphasise with the learning camp and from early childhood I always treated life as an opportunity to learn and grow, not as a podium for extolling my half-baked wisdom onto whoever will listen.

Furthermore, I figured there are two types of things you can learn: academic and practical.

Academic learning (something I am not particularly interested in) is when you learn to know more.

Practical learning (judging by my last year’s reading list – something I took to heart) is when you learn to do something better.

As a wise man once said, it’s very easy to see if your education has been effective and you learned something (practical): if after learning this particular thing you have changed the way you do something or you stopped doing something completely – then you’ve truly learned. If you haven’t – then either your education has been ineffective or there was no need for it in the first place.

In a series of upcoming posts, in addition to my general thoughts on business and common sense commentary, I’ll start sharing some important practical (NB: biased!) learnings in no particular order, so you, my dear readers, can save time when learning these things for yourselves. Feel free to join in the conversation and share your thoughts on these topics.

by Roman Grigoriev